Five silver linings from West Ham defeat, including Brad Smith cameo

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Yesterday’s defeat to West Ham was about as horrible a start to the New Year as we could’ve imagined, but instead of completely jump on the bandwagon, we’ve searched for some positives.

Liverpool player ratings v West Ham: Benteke dreadful during horror show

After all, it took Jurgen Klopp time to get it right at Borussia Dortmund and it’ll likely be the same in a new league.

At least the fans are unified as one in support of the new manager.

Brad Smith’s cameo…

Smith was told he could leave during the summer, but we retained his registration details and eventually offered the Australian a new deal. The 21-year-old has four caps for the Socceroos, and came on after the hour mark for Alberto Moreno at Upton Park. Like he did earlier in the season at FC Sion, Smith showed real promise. He paraded up the left flank and got himself in good positions, showing speed and attacking instincts. As backup to Moreno, Smith now looks a perfect option. He’s young enough to accept a rotation role, but good enough to come in for the Spaniard when he needs a rest.

Emre Can was excellent in central midfield…

It’s easy to forget that Can is only 21-years-old when you look at him. Of all our players, the German was perhaps the only one who relished the physical battle with West Ham. He fought all afternoon, winning tackles and headers in the middle while passing the ball simply and sensibly. Lucas couldn’t handle it, but Can is improving week in, week out. Overall, he’s been one of the players who’ve most benefited from Klopp’s arrival. Remember, he was stuck as a makeshift centre-back in a back-three under Brendan Rodgers.

Klopp may now be forced into the transfer market…

We cannot truly judge Klopp’s progress at Liverpool until he’s working with his own players, and this January provides him the first opportunity to bring some of those in. And it could be argued after yesterday that all areas need improving, such was the shocking performance offered to him by the current bunch. If we’d have scraped a draw, it might’ve made Klopp less inclined to look at players to buy, but it’s abundantly clear that we need a pacy, goalscoring winger and probably a central midfielder as well. Liverpool fans wouldn’t turn down a new centre-back and a striker that fits our style either, but we might have to wait until the summer for those.

Dejan Lovren is developing into a leader…

We lost 2-0, but we’re actually going to praise Dejan Lovren again, who was the best of the back four. Mamadou Sakho’s not looked the same player since his injury, while Nathaniel Clyne and Alberto Moreno can be blamed in different ways for the goals. Lovren barked instructions throughout and didn’t look nervous on the ball as he has previously. Unbelievably, it’s now probably Martin Skrtel and Sakho who are competing to start alongside Lovren. Imagine thinking that at the start of the season…? He may not be the long-term answer, but he’s at least proving £20m wasn’t a complete waste of money.

The Premier League table means everything is still to play for…

We’ve lost six of our 20 matches, have a negative goal-difference, but are still only 12 points off top. More importantly, we’re five points off 4th – the dream target for this Premier League season. There’s no brilliant sides in this competition, and our rivals will continually drop points as well – meaning it’ll only take a good run of form for us to put ourselves in genuine contention. A hopefully fit Daniel Sturridge will help this tenfold, as will the returning captain Jordan Henderson and hopefully a January addition or two.

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